In a hospital
If death occurs in a hospital, hospice, nursing home or retirement home the medical staff will contact the next of kin.
A medical certificate is issued by the doctor in charge of the patient and this is normally collected by the next of kin
In England around 20% of deaths occur at home. If you are first to discover the body you need to get in touch with a doctor – typically the person’s GP (if known). The GP will confirm that the person is dead and arrange for a medical certificate stating the cause of death.
If the first person aware of the death is not next of kin, they will need to contact the deceased’s nearest relative or whoever is entrusted with handling the deceased’s affairs.
Away from home
A small number of deaths happen away from home, for example while on holiday. When this happens, if you are the person to find the body, you will still need to seek out a medical practitioner to confirm the person is dead. If you are not the next of kin, you will need to get in touch with them without delay.
If death occurred abroad, you should find out about the local procedures as these will be probably be different to England and Wales. Contact the local police of the British Consulate if you need advice. If the person has travel insurance contact the insurance company to see if the policy covers recovering of the costs to repatriate the body.
Who’s in charge when I die
Your next of kin and your executor(s) are in charge when you die. If you have no will or no close relatives there can sometimes be complications.
Should I make a will
By making a Will you will ensure that your assets, no matter how small, are distributed in line with your wishes.
Making a Will
A will sets out how your estate (your assets) should be distributed, and names an executor(s) to take care of this task. A will is only valid if your signature has been witnessed by 2 adults who are not beneficiaries of the will in anyway.